If you read this blog regularly you are probably aware of our desire to live a simple sort of life. Reuben and I dream of owning enough land to grow plenty of fruit and veggies and have chickens for eggs, so that we can produce a lot of own food. We love vintage and thrifting, and buying secondhand or handmade where possible. We understand that no amount of material stuff will make us happy and that the best things in life are free. We try to live within our limited means and for the most part, we do pretty well.
Most of the time blogging really inspires and encourages me in persuing this kind of lifestyle. Blogs like this one remind me that true richness comes from home, family and living a good life. Blogs like this one show me that with a bit of thriftiness, you can turn a little into a lot. I see beautiful DIY projects and gorgeous thrifted frocks in Blogland and I think “I don’t need huge amounts of money to have nice things! I can be resourceful and creative and thrifty! Vintage is best! I can save money and save the environment too!” And mostly, I really truly believe all that. 99% of the time I am perfectly happy turning our old toilet paper rolls into seed pots, buying secondhand dresses that I can alter to make pretty, and decorating our old house in thrifted afgans. I really like all those things!
But if I am to be very honest with you I must admit, sometimes I do struggle.
Sometimes I think it would be a lot easier and more fun if we’d just hurry up already and buy a brand new record player, rather than waiting to find the right one secondhand. Sometimes the pile of dresses I have not yet gotten around to mending gives me the absolute horrors. Sometimes I hate every vintage cardigan in my wardrobe and I just want something shiny and new. Sometimes I think I’m actually not very good at craft and DIY. Sometimes the sight of our tiny, ancient kitchen (and the knowledge we likely won’t be able to afford a place of our own for a long time) makes me want to cry. And sometimes blogs make the desire for things much, much stronger.
There are only so many pictures of gorgeous girls in lovely new dresses that I can stand before find myself wide awake at 2am, browsing online stores and obsessing over silly, material objects. I’m getting much better at resisting but sometimes I still make purchases I shouldn’t. I believe that blogs have the same (if not more) power of magazines and television to make us desire and buy things. After all, these are real people with amazing wardrobes! And pretty houses! And loads of gorgeous stuff! And why can’t I have that too?!
I think it’s perfectly natural to want to surround ourselves with beautiful things that make us happy. I certainly don’t encourage living in a cardboard box and wearing a potato sack just to pinch pennies. But we have to learn to aquire lovely things within our means. We need to balance the desire for material stuff with our finances and the lifestyle we lead. I really, really love pretty dresses but I simply can’t afford a trip to the Modcloth checkout every time a blogger shows up in my feed wearing a cute outfit.
Of course, it’s not the fault of those fashionable bloggers with the fancy houses that I sometimes buy things I shouldn’t. My money is my responsibility. I have to learn to control my shopping reflex. I have to remind myself that I cannot have everything I want. I have to accept that there will always be others with more than me. I have to focus on the fact that having every beautiful thing known to mankind is not in sync with the lifestyle I want. And I have to tell myself that, although those shoes are lovely, the joy of them will be shortlived. I will not be happy if I can’t afford to pay my bills.
Do you ever struggle with blogging and materialism? Do pretty outfit posts and beautiful house tours sometimes make you crazy jealous? Please tell me I’m not alone!
PS That little succulent terrarium pictured cost me almost nothing to make and is one of my favourite things. It is possible to have lovely stuff without spending lots of money, it just takes a little more imagination!